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Making Waterslide Decals

5287 Views 35 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  GDSLOT
I bought some waterslide decals recently, and they were complete rubbish. Four of the sheets were really badly printed, the last time I saw colour printing so bad it was done on a 9 pin dot matrix. One sheet was a little better, so I tried to use it only to discover that the printing floated off the decal along with the backing paper and they look terrible on the car. These were from scalextric-car. just to be clear, I have previously bought transfers from PSR and they were great quality.

I decided that I may as well make my own, but couldn't seem to find much information here about it. Has anyone done it, and if so do you have any tips you can share? I have found some paper available locally and checked the instructions, I'm using an inkjet so will need to spray them with a clear topcoat. But I'm sure there are probably some do's and don'ts that I should know. Any tips gratefully received.
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Im far away from being a pro at printing decals, but the few things I have learned are:

1) Print them with the propper setting, some use more ink than other and when it uses too much ink it mixes and makes a mess, so doing some tests before chosing your right setting is advisable.

2) Once you print them, leave the ink to dry for a whole day before aplying sealer or clear coat.

3)Once the clear coat is aplied, again leave at least 12 hours or a whole day so that its completely sealed, otherwise you risk water disolving ink when using the decals.

4) Dont feel bad if your decals dont match those like Indycals, Atalaya, Patos, etc, the fact is that they use printers that are far above from the ones we own at home😉

Hope it helps a little.

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This is my method..

1) I design set my background resolution in my graphics program to 1200 dpi
2) If your program has them use a separate layer for each image, this makes later edits easier
3) when importing designs or images load to a new tab if you can
4) do any editing and cropping needed and if possible copy this in to a new tab or page
5) change the resolution of this new image to 1200 dpi
6) resize this new image, in mm, to the required size
7) copy and paste this new image to the original page
8) check each image and recolour or paint/fill as required, this is important with imported images. also make sure the background is clear or perfect white, it can also be a colour if printing on white decal paper
9) repeat as required until you have all the decals required

10) do a test print on photo paper at your printers highest resolution, your graphics program my confirm the print resolution.
11) assuming all is well you can print you decal sheet, if any errors now is the time to correct them.
12) set the decal sheet a side for at least 24 hours
13) spray the sheet with 2 or 3 coats of lacquer or clearcoat
14) if you have only printed a part sheet you can use brush on varnish or decal sealer or mask and spray

well that's my method

a few extra tips hints..

If you are printing only a few decals I tend to spread them out as I find, with my printer, I can brush seal and after cutting out I can re-use the sheet without problems. I just make sure I avoid the sealed parts of the sheet when placing the next lot of decals.

If the decals has white parts that have a full colour border I will hide all other layers and then first recolour the white to another colour then if there is enough room I add a think border in the same colour then a single pixel black boarder and then change the coloured part back to white. This is then printed on white decal paper and when ready I cut around the black line. This is then placed on the model first and allowed to fully set before the colour decal is placed on to. If the white part of the image is complicated you can print the full image on the white decal paper and the cut inside the image to produce the base layer. Either will work so long as the base layer is smaller than the top decal, you just need a good eye.
I like it, but... This is out of my league😐
Decals for the car on the left were done using Word, an HP LaserJet printer on Testors clear decal paper. I made a spelling error in one word and the blue was not as dark as it should have been - the actual Blaupunkt blue is somewhere in between what I did and the on the right. One tip, for when you print - make sure, if there is a setting for it, to print blacks as pure black. Do a test print and use high quality setting.
View attachment 281102
Most of the text was easily found using website, Most of the graphics were found on logo websites, scaled down and converted for pasting into Word. Some of the graphics were done in Word.
This is more or less what I do🙂
Not having used Word, other than for text based documents, how do you change the output resolution?
I have not idea mate 😁, the fact is that also use Word just for writing legal docs so mostly of my work when doing decals is just copy and paste and adjust the size.

I suppose than when printing I could try adjusting printing settings in the printer 🙄

Supongo que muchos hemos hecho algo parecido. Alguna vez pegaba directamente el sponsor en papel al coche o utilizaba cinta aislante de diferentes colores. Pero cuando no encontraba un logo o el tamaño no era el adecuado, lo pintaba.
Al final pintaba todos los logos del coche a pincel. Aprovechando que he subido esta imagen en el tema del 126 C2, así quedaba un coche decorado a "mano alzada".

I guess many of us have done something similar. Sometimes I directly glued the sponsor on paper to the car or used insulating tape of different colors. But when he couldn't find a logo or the size wasn't right, he painted it.

In the end I painted all the car logos with a brush. Taking advantage of the fact that I have uploaded this image on the theme of the 126 C2, so it was a car decorated "freehand".


Nada mal para calcas hechas a mano 👍

Not bad for a hand made decals👍

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Waterslide paper is ordered, and I've had some fun putting together the first sheet of transfers I intend to make. This is partly for a pair of 1275GT minis that I've been working on and then I just filled the rest of the sheet with generic 70's style stuff that I thought I might use. This is one eighth of an A4 sheet (which is A7), so I'm planning to cut up the sheets if I can get a sheet this size to feed through the printer.
Thats a nice generic decal sheet, thanks for sharing🙂👍
I am trying to make my own decals. Have followed the advise but still look pixelated. I have taken down to a print shop and it only looked slightly better than my home printer.

I have used big images and small images, shrunk them down with no luck.

I used Irfanview, couldn't get ms word to paste. Just downloaded GIMP but looks complicated. I liked Irfanview as it was basic
Not bad mate, they look quite good! 👍🏼
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